As the American granite industry started to develop in the second half of the 19th century, Henry Nair Alexander, a Scottish stone-cutter, decided to follow other Scotsmen to the massive granite fields in central Minnesota. In 1889 he and seven other men formed the Rockville Granite Company. Their first big contract--eight large columns--was for the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul.
Alexander bought out his partners in 1898, and became sole owner of Rockville Granite Company and the company legacy began. When Henry became ill from pneumonia in 1912, 22-year-old Patrick Alexander, who had left home to work in quarries around North America, came home and took over management of the company. Fourteen-year-old John Alexander also helped out at the plant.
When Henry died in 1913, his wife Maggie Alexander and sons Patrick and John took over the business. Maggie died in 1916, and Patrick and John became the owners of Rockville Granite Company. The company had only one quarry while one of its competitors had purchased most of the granite rich land in the area. To remain in business, they decided to move Rockville Granite six miles to Cold Spring, MN. Their first contract was the Stearns County Courthouse. The company grew thanks to such projects, plus a strong workforce and innovations in quarrying and processing. In 1924 it acquired a new name to reflect its location, Cold Spring Granite Company.
Pat Alexander died in 1948, at a time when the company was overwhelmed by postwar building orders. His brother John took over as president of the company. By then, Cold Spring Granite was a thriving business with a reputation for excellence. John continued developing the memorial market while expanding the architectural one. He continued company expansion in the 1950s, when the company bought operations in Texas, California, New York and Canada.
As the company grew, so did the portfolio of completed iconic projects throughout the nation such as FDR Memorial, Korean War Memorial, etc. To continue to be competitive in the market, investments in technology advancements were made throughout the operations and the need for efficiencies in operations drove the consolidation to one campus and the construction of a new LEED gold certified headquarters.
In 2013 the company changed its name to Coldspring to reflect who they are today – more than a granite company. Over the years they have added many new capabilities, diversified into new markets and developed expertise with a wide range of materials beyond granite such as bronze, limestone, sandstone, and diamond-tooling products. The Alexander family continues to lead the company with John’s son Patrick Alexander holding the CEO/chairman position.
More than 120 years later, with over 700 employees across multiple facilities and over 30 quarries across North America, Coldspring continues to thrive serving the architectural, memorial, residential and industrial markets. The company continues to build on a long-standing commitment to sustainability and continuous improvement and recently certified to the ANSI/NSC 373 Sustainable Production of Natural Dimension Stone certification.
© National Building Granite Quarries Association, 2017